NA Halo 3 preorders top 1M

Bungie's forthcoming FPS now the fastest-selling game preorder in North American history; Microsoft announces cobranding deals with Mountain Dew, Burger King, Doritos, and Pontiac.

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Back in May, rumors were afoot that 4 million Halo 3 preorders had been placed via US retailer GameStop alone. However, suspicions were raised when the staggering number was not confirmed by Microsoft, which has been waging an expanding publicity campaign for the Xbox 360-exclusive shooter before its late September release.

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Today, Microsoft trumpeted Halo 3 preorder figures for the first time--and while still impressive, they were a fraction of the previously rumored amount. As of this week, one million preorders of Bungie's sci-fi shooter have been made in North America--enough to make it the "fastest-selling video game preorder" in the territory's history. The figure means that the Halo 3 launch could potentially be bigger than that of Halo 2. The then-Xbox-exclusive sold 2.38 million units in the US and Canada in the 24 hours after went on sale on November 16, 2004, generating an estimated $125 million.

Halo 3 preorder customers' passion for the game is such that cost is apparently no object. As part of today's announcement, Microsoft warned that, despite its premium price point, the collectible Halo 3: Legendary Edition is on track to sell out before the game launches. The bundle, which includes a miniaturized version of the Master Chief's helmet, retails for $129.99 in the US, but is already sold out at several online retailers in the UK.

In addition to its preorder bravado, Microsoft today touted a series of Halo 3 cobranding initiatives of the sort typically associated with blockbuster films. As indicated by various leaks earlier this year, PepsiCo is launching "the first beverage co-branded with a video game," Mountain Dew Game Fuel (pictured). Bearing the Halo 3 logo and the likeness of the Master Chief, the beverage will have more caffeine and a slightly different flavor than standard-issue Mountain Dew. Mountain Dew Game Fuel will go on sale on August 13 for a limited time alongside Halo 3-themed Doritos, which are manufactured by PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay.

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven will be running a promotion hyping Halo 3-themed Mountain Dew and Doritos featuring "thousands" of prizes, including the chance to be a voice actor in the upcoming Xbox 360 real-time strategy game Halo Wars.

The move comes after 7-Eleven rebranded dozens of its locations as Kwik-E-Marts to promote The Simpsons Movie. Another Simpsons Movie partner in corporate synergy, Burger King, is also hitching its fall fortunes to Halo 3. The fast food franchise will run a Master-Chief-centric promotion from September 24 to October 22 with Halo 3 meal packaging that will give customers access to exclusive online content.

Auto maker Pontiac is also hopping aboard the cobranding bandwagon, and will hold a series of Pontiac Gamers Garage events where gamers can play Halo 3 ahead of its released and get a chance to win a Halo 3-themed G6 GXP Street car. Cable giant Comcast will also be hosting exclusive Halo 3 video content online.

Last but not least, the Projekt Revolution annual concert tour this summer will be sponsored by Halo 3, with events taking place in "select cities" where attendees will get Halo 3 merchandise, and the chance to meet perennial headliners Linkin Park.

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